Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (11.03.18) reported that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci inspected in a visit the other day the works which are taking place for the opening of the occupied Apliki crossing point.
In statements there, Akinci criticized the Greek Cypriot side for the delay of the completion of the 3km road and claimed that even though three years were passed since they agreed with President Anastasiades for the opening of crossing points in Apliki and Deryneia, still, the Greek Cypriot side was not being able to complete the road. He further added that although the Greek Cypriot side has stated before that the road would have been completed by February, this could not be accomplished. “It was said now that they will exceed September. It is not very pleasant to constantly postpone the works. I do not want to make accusations, but this situation will benefit no one”, he argued.
Akinci went on claiming that the Turkish Cypriot side wants for the works at Apliki to be speeded up the soonest possible in order for the new crossing point to open. Akinci called on the Greek Cypriot side to do all necessary and also speed up the works for the completion of the road, underlining that the opening of the Apliki crossing point will contribute not only to the development of the area, but also to the ties of the two communities and to the efforts for reaching to peace in Cyprus. “I wish that my visit here will sent messages for speeding up the efforts”, Akinci added.
According to illegal Bayrak television (10.03.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=return-of-maronites-2), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci announced that in order for the coordination of the works regarding the return of Maronites to their villages in the “TRNC” to gain some pace, “he will be meeting at a high level meeting with the new government once the 2018 fiscal year budget has been approved by the parliament”.
Akinci made the announced during a meeting with a delegation that represents Agia Marina Skylloura Maronites at his office and spoke about efforts that are taking place so that Maronites can return to their villages in the occupied area of Cyprus.
According to information released by Akinci’s office, “the political decision taken for Maronites to return to their villages in the TRNC was made on the 27th of July during a high level meeting at the presidential palace. Works in order for arrangements to be made so that the Maronites can return to their villages was taking place in coordination with the presidency, the prime ministry, foreign ministry, finance ministry, interior ministry, undersecretary of the embassy and military officials. Within this framework, in order for the decisions taken regarding the return process to be realized, a road map and a time table were prepared. Once the 2018 fiscal year budget is approved the aim is to speed up efforts in this area.”
Under the title “Do not touch the citizenships”, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (12.03.18) reports that backstage information is being revealed regarding the visit, which “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay held recently in Ankara. According to information obtained by the paper, during the Turkish Cypriot officials’ closed to the press meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag, the issue of the “citizenships” granted by the breakaway regime to Turks was discussed. Erdogan opposed to the effort of annulling some of these “citizenships” and asked Erhurman and Ozersay not to touch them. Erdogan described the new arrangements regarding the “citizenships” as “contrary to the national policy” and warned the self-styled government to stop its initiative on this issue.
Moreover, Erdogan asked for no “lawsuits” to be filed against those who climbed on the “assembly’s” roof on 22 January 2018 waving Turkish flags. He also complained about the way by which “justice” functions in the occupied area of Cyprus and demanded the lifting of all “legal gaps” for silencing “Afrika” newspaper.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (12.03.18) reports that “an agreement which safeguards the health of all the tourists who will visit the TRNC from Europe was signed at the Berlin Tourism Fair”.
In the framework of this “agreement” more than 350,000 tourists from 15 European countries will be able to receive health services in the breakaway regime and their health care will be undertaken by the “university hospital of the Eastern Mediterranean university and the Dr Suat Gunsel Keryneia University”.
In statements on the issue, “tourism minister” Fikri Ataoglu alleged that with this “agreement” more tourists will prefer the “TRNC” for their holiday destination.
Under the title “Keryneia sells like crazy”, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (12.03.18) reports that Hasan Sungur, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot real estate agents’ union, has said that the real estate sector in the occupied area of Cyprus livened up due to buyers from Turkey. He noted that after the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, persons from Turkey’s “elite category”, such as businessmen, doctors and army officers, started investing in the occupied area of Cyprus and added that great demand exists by people from Russia, Norway and Sweden. He said that after the increase in the luxury hotels, “a serious boom” was observed in the real estate sector adding that those who come to spend the night at the hotels want to buy immovable property in the occupied area of Cyprus when they see the climate of the island.
Furthermore, Ismet Esynel, “undersecretary” in the “ministry of tourism” said that the “ministry” carries out surveys in which the fact that Cyprus offers a “safe and democratic environment” comes forward. He noted that the occupied area of Cyprus is preferred to Turkey’s Cesme area and added that persons who visit the occupied area once a week or every fifteen days prefer buying immovable property instead of staying at a hotel. “The number of those from Istanbul and Izmir who buy immovable property increased”, he said adding that last year the number of tourists visiting the occupied area of Cyprus increased by 23% and reached 1,142,000.
Moreover, Cafer Gurcafer, chairman of the building contractors’ union, said that there is “an intensive flow” towards the occupied area of Cyprus especially from Russia, China and Arab countries, adding that the increase in the real estate sector has a great contribution to the “country’s” economy. He alleged that the “ownership problem”, which derives from the Cyprus problem, scares only the Europeans. “Russia, China and the Arab world do not look at whether it is a Greek or Turkish property. They take steps for tranquility”, he claimed.
According to the paper, an increase of 30% was observed in the real estate sector in the occupied area of Cyprus in 2016. Foreigners can buy property after taking a “permit” from the “council of ministers”. The holders of property can easily be granted “inhabitance permit”. During the past two years, the number of those who were granted “permit” raised to 5,000.
Under the title: “Giant cooperation in the tourism sector”, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (11.03.18) reported that new doors are opening for investments in the tourism sector in the occupied area of Cyprus.
According to the paper, “the chairman of the administration board” of the Altinbas Holding, Vakkas Altinbas and the “chairman of the administration board” of the Star Kibris Media Group, known businessman Ali Ozmen Safa, held contacts in the occupied area of Cyprus with several businessmen from Turkey, in order to evaluate possible investment projects in the occupied Lapythos and Trikomo areas.
In statements on the issue, Altinbas claimed that the aim of their contacts with Turkish businessmen was to discuss possible investments in the area of Lapythos and Trikomo, aiming to the economic developments of the area and to the “promotion and further developments of the TRNC”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (12.03.18) reports that the government of Nigeria warned the Nigerian students who study in the breakaway regime, that the “TRNC is not safe“ for them. The paper further reports that the number of Nigerian students in the occupied area of Cyprus has been seriously reduced due to the harassments and the rapes against students who are discriminated due to their skin’s color. The number of Nigerian students in the breakaway regime is currently 15,000 according to Havadis.
Speaking to the paper, the chairman of the Nigerian Students’ Union, Evidence Akhayare, stated that the students from his country are treated badly in every environment and added that the “police” does not pay attention to the complains issued by the students who are under harassments or are raped. He also noted that are treated badly because of their skin color and that they are asked to pay higher rates when they want to rent a house.
Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today newspaper (12.03.18), under the title “Boxing glory beckons in landmark TRNC signing”, reports that the “TRNC boxing federation” has been accepted as a member of the British and Irish Boxing Association (Biba) – with plans to hold a major international tournament in “north Cyprus” [occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus], to promote the sport here, already under way.
Biba CEO and executive vice-president Gianluca Di Caro visited the “TRNC” this week to sign a protocol with Turkish Cypriot boxing chiefs, providing a new route for the best home-grown talent to pursue a professional career.
He also visited self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Ozersay yesterday – but not before dropping by the offices of Cyprus Today.
Mr Di Caro said Biba, whose headquarters are in Romford, Essex, was formed two years ago and now had more than 700 professional boxers registered, 500 of them outside the UK. “We organise international competitions every week,” he said.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (10.03.18) reported that the Turkish war ship, corvette called TGG Buyukada (F-512) will anchor at the occupied port of Famagusta on Sunday and it will open to the public for visits.
According to the paper, the ship will be open for visits from 10.00-17.00.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-slams-nato-for-not-supporting-turkeys-afrin-operation-128589) reported that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused NATO of “not supporting” Turkey in its ongoing military operation in the northwestern Syrian district of Afrin, criticizing “double standards” in the alliance.
“We have a 911-kilometer border [with Syria] and terrorist organizations are harassing us constantly from this border. The Syrian regime is also taking the same measures. When will you show up?” Erdogan said on March 11 in the northwestern province of Bolu, referring to NATO.
Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 aiming to clear Afrin of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara regards as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a threat to Turkey’s security.
Erdogan said that NATO member Turkey sent troops to conflict zones when requested – giving the examples of Somalia, Afghanistan and the Balkan region - but did not receive necessary support for its Afrin mission in return.
“We were present all these places … But NATO when will you stand behind us?” he said on March 11, saying Turkey’s borders are “under constant threat.”
“Should I keep saying all these things? We haven’t received any positive response yet,” Erdogan added.
“We now define the forces that we said were our allies and friends according to the actions they take in the field, not by the words they say to us,” he said.
In mid-February, Turkey marked 66 years of NATO membership, and according to the NATO charter an attack on one of the alliance’s members is an attack on them all.
Meanwhile, Erdogan also vowed that the ongoing operation is not to “occupy” Afrin but to “liberate it from terrorists” before “handing it over to the people living there”. “In the Afrin region, the real owners of the lands have started to come back,” he added.
Since the beginning of the operation, Turkish and FSA forces have taken 185 strategic locations, including five town centres, 148 villages, and 31 key strategic areas, Anadolu Agency reported.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.03.18), the Turkish government provided development assistance worth nearly $18.4 billion to foreign countries over the past three years, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday.
"Turkey's development aid to other countries amounted to around $3.9 billion in 2015, which rose by 65% to reach nearly $6.5 billion in 2016," Yildirim said in a statement.
"According to the preliminary figures for 2017, Turkey showed exemplary responsibility and left behind many developed countries by granting nearly $8 billion development aid to the rest of the world, especially to Middle Eastern and African countries," he noted.
Yildirim stated that last year's official development assistance figures include over $7 billion humanitarian aid and said: "Our government is very sensitive about these issues because we know that pain has no language, race and religion."
According to Development Initiative's (DI) Global Humanitarian Assistance Report released last June, Turkey came in second after the U.S. among countries that contributed the most humanitarian aid in 2016.
Turkey contributed $6 billion in humanitarian aid in 2016 while the U.S. contributed $6.3 billion, DI data shows. Turkey's humanitarian aid in 2015 amounted to $3.2 billion, rising by 115% to reach $6 billion in 2016.
Turkey ranks first if one takes into account national incomes, considering the country's gross national income was $857 billion in 2016, while in the U.S. it was $18.7 trillion.
Turkey had ranked third in the DI report for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Yildirim said Turkey ranked sixth among the member countries of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee in 2016 -- which spent a total of $142.6 billion in development aid -- and is expecting to be in the top positions in 2017.
Noting that the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) continued its operations last year with its 60 program coordination offices around the world, Yildirim said TIKA conducted more than 20,000 projects over the past 15 years, from 2003 to 2017.
"TIKA is carrying out its projects in both near and remote regions, such as the Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia, Caucasus, Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Oceania," he said.
The premier also noted that according to the UN data, Turkey hosts the most number of refugees -- nearly 3.5 million -- and Turkish citizens are sharing their food, homes, and lives with those refugees.
Turkey's official figures show it has spent more than $25 billion from its own national resources for hosting the refugees since the beginning of the conflict.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.03.18), a meeting of the first of three technical committees of Turkey and the U.S. aimed at resolving issues between the two countries concluded Friday.
The meeting was "positive" and collaborative work will continue, diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency, adding there was a sincere exchange of opinions between the delegates.
The primary agenda of the committee on Syria was Turkey's demand of clearing YPG/PKK terrorists from Manbij, which lies to the west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
Nearly 20 U.S. officials, led by Acting Assistant Secretary Wess Mitchell, attended the meeting, according to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.
On the Turkish side, Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal has been presiding over the committee on Syria, Deputy Undersecretary Cihad Erginay on FETO and Fazli Corman, director general for South Asia at the Foreign Ministry, on Iraq.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (10.03.18) reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said the U.S. and Turkey had “reached a common understanding” on the issue of the stabilization of the city of Manbij in northern Syria and other cities east of the Euphrates River.
“We have established working groups for that,” Cavusoglu said in an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit on March. 9. The Turkish Foreign Minister said he would meet with his U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson on March 19 to discuss further details.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/felicity-party-leader-rules-out-election-alliance-criticizes-ruling-akp-128580), Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoglu has ruled out any possibility joining the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) “People’s Alliance,” saying the AKP government is “not engaging with Turkey’s serious problems”.
“Those who speak against the government are being sent to jail one day later or being dismissed from their jobs. The country should not be like this. They say: ‘Come and join the People’s Alliance.’ I wound not be so crazy”, Karamollaoglu said on March 9 at his party’s provincial congress in Ankara.
“[They ask] us what we expect, or how many Ministries we want, or how many lawmakers. But this nation cannot be sold for 20, 120 or even 250 lawmakers. Everyone should know that,” he added.
Karamollaoglu’s fringe conservative party, which received less than one percent of votes in the November 2015 election, has recently come into focus in Turkey, drawing attention from both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and ruling “National Alliance” ahead of crucial elections in 2019, after which the executive presidential system is due to fully go into effect.
The SP opposed to the shift to an executive presidency in the April 2017 referendum, with Karamollaoglu saying he favoured a strengthening of the democratic parliamentary. The CHP has recently held meetings with the SP leader within the framework of its bid to form an “alliance of principles” against the system change.
The AKP and the MHP, meanwhile, are seeking to unite all conservative parties in the country, with the religious ultra-nationalist Grand Union Party (BBP) already pledging its support to the alliance.
According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (11.03.18), Turkey's current account deficit has widened by $4.4 billion, year-on-year, to reach nearly $7.1 billion in January, Turkish Central Bank said Monday.
According to the bank's report on the balance of payments, the country's 12-month rolling deficit stood at nearly $51.6 billion in January.
"This development in the current account is mainly attributable to $4.54 billion increase in the goods deficit recording net outflow of $7.63 billion, as well as $82 million increase in primary income deficit to $479 million," the bank said.
Turkey's current account gap in January 2017 was almost $2.7 billion with a 12-month rolling deficit of $33.58 billion, according to the Turkish Central Bank's revised data.
Turkey's annual current account deficit in 2016 was around $32.5 billion, relatively stable compared to the previous year's figure of $32.1 billion.
According to the Central Bank figures, the country's highest annual current account deficit in the last 20 years was in 2011 with $74.4 billion.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION